The Council for Exceptional Children recognizes that all children and youth with disabilities have the right to live and flourish in a safe environment where they are protected and have support to protect themselves from all forms of maltreatment—neglect as well as physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
The CEC Board of Directors in September approved CEC’s Policy on the Prevention of and Response to Maltreatment developed by a CEC Board appointed work group chaired by CEC member Catherine Corr. This expert member driven work group worked diligently to develop the policy and receive and incorporate input from CEC members, Divisions and Units.
Experiencing maltreatment can create a cascade of negative effects on children and youth’s health and cognitive, behavioral, language, and social development. CEC believes that professionals in special education must play an active role in preventing and responding to instances of maltreatment. CEC is an organization of professionals dedicated to advancing the success of children and youth with disabilities, and advocates for:
- The safety and well-being of all children and youth with disabilities.
- Consideration of cultural factors when recognizing and responding to incidents and indicators of maltreatment while acknowledging personal attitudes and implicit bias.
- Child-centered interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration when recognizing, reporting, and responding to maltreatment.
- Professional preparation and professional development opportunities for special educators focused on preventing, recognizing, reporting, and responding to maltreatment, inclusive of issues of challenging behavior, implicit bias, bullying, and disproportionate identification in special education.
- Evidence-based policies that delineate and enforce practices for preventing, recognizing, reporting, and responding to maltreatment.
CEC will be inclusive of issues of maltreatment by continuing to promote the enhancement of teacher preparation standards, professional development, policy and advocacy, and research.
CEC recommends a consistent approach of building awareness and understanding of the maltreatment of children and youth, enhancing maltreatment recognizing and reporting mechanisms, and incorporating prevention and response strategies in everyday practice.